I first heard Jerome Thomas one rainy night in New Cross.
Rushing to try and make it on time for some arrangement I was inevitably late for, I passed the dingy New Cross Inn on the corner – haunt to many Goldsmiths students looking for a cheap night out, and some other rather interesting characters besides.
The smooth and soulful sounds I could hear emanating out the door were enough to catch my attention, and pique my curiousity. I had to go in to check it out, no matter how late it might make me, and how sticky the floor was going to be. What I ended up seeing was one of the strongest performances I’ve witnessed since starting at uni, and I’ve been keeping tabs on Jerome’s work since.
I recently caught up with the Dalston-based singer and designer to talk influences, plans, and creativity:
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Alright well, I’m Jerome Thomas, Singer/Songwriter from East London. I’ve been singing since i was a little’un, but started taking music seriously about 5/6 years ago.
The Soulnotes are a band i formed a few years back when i was at university and they are my band, so you’ll see em at most, if not all of my gigs. We write and record together sometimes too.
Describe your sound in three words (for all those people out there with short attention-spans!):
Fusion of everything – FOE.
How did you first get involved with music?
I’ve always been around music and creativity. I was writing songs, poems and stories as a kid all the time. In terms of just music, I think i was about 12 or 13 maybe and I performed at a open mic for young’ens and I remember – as cliche as it sounds – feeling really good doing after doing it; the reaction was positive, so from there i just carried on writing and singing.
Where do you take your inspiration from as an artist?
I try not to let others influence me as an artist and I feel that if you’re looking at someone else, you become less focused on you. I forever want to be original and create my own guidelines.
There are obviously people I admire and would like to follow in the footsteps of in terms of success and musicality; people like D’angelo, Marvin Gaye and Amy Winehouse. Regardless of their personal matters, their music is flawless to me and speaks for itself. With that said, I love all types of music.
But most, I’m inspired by freedom: no limits or boundaries, being able to do what you want if and when it suits you.
You also design and sell t -shirts under your boutique brand ‘Foe’ – Can you give us an insight into your work in fashion?
Yeah, I’d been customising a lot of my clothes, getting clothes for cheap in charity shops and markets, and just trying stuff out with studs and bleach and dyes. Then one day, i was chilling making a t-shirt for myself and it clicked – just start selling them. It’s still in the baby stages now though, I’m concentrating more on my music, so the fashion side is sort of like my side job.
What other plans does Jerome Thomas have for the near future?
Well i got a song looking to drop soonish, so thats coming up. I’ve also been collaborating with other producers and their projects are due for release soon too, so you should be seeing me pop up a bit more ‘fingers crossed’.
Finally, are there any other young musicians out there inspiring you?
Shakka, Etta Bond, Mark Asari, Joel Culpepper – they’re all doing their thing right now. Couldn’t really sit here and list everyone, but those are the standouts for me.